Matthew, Chapter 23

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Jesus Exposes the Pharisees’ Hypocrisies

23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.(Matthew 23:23-28)

Jesus passes harsh criticism on the Pharisees, the religious scholars of Jerusalem. He condemns the way they replaced the highest principles of faith—namely, kindness and inner spiritual work—with void rituals, lust for power, and external actions. When we focus on externalities, we disregard the truly important things in life and neglect kindness. In order to reach true levels of spirituality, we must purify our hearts on the inside. Insincere actions lead to harmful behavior and defile our pure intentions.

Sensitivity is the ability to take note of and respond to others’ needs and suffering.